Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It Only Hurts When I Don't Run

The piriformis was a bit tight when I crawled out of bed this morning, but like yesterday the feeling evaporated as soon as I got on the road. It's been in the low 30's for the last two mornings, but once the sun lifts itself over the mountains in the east it's been comfortable enough to run with just one long-sleeved layer and shorts. I really hate using a hat or gloves, though if it gets any colder I'll probably dig them out of the garage.

I ran the exact same seven mile loop I tackled yesterday, though I tried to move the legs a little bit over the last three miles. I stuck around the house too long this morning drawing Christmas trees with our daughter, so I had to hurry back in order to get her to school on time. The two of us picked out a tree yesterday and she's literally shaking with excitement over the thought of decorating it tonight. At four years of age she's really getting into the season, while our son at only a year and a half is content with just trying to pull the tree over on himself.

While I'm waiting for the coach to come up with a schedule for the spring races I have planned (as he waits to see if I'm really over my assorted leg maladies) I've taken a look at the general schedule Arthur Lydiard provided for the 1973 book "Running the Lydiard Way". For a marathoner continuing his season with 5 and 10K races it looks like this-

Mo: 10x sprint 100 every 200
Tu: 1.5hrs aerobic running
We: 3000 meter time trial
Th: 1 hour fartlek
Fr: .5 hour easy
Sa: Race 5 or 10K
Su: 1.5hrs or more aerobic running

Lydiard writes that if an athlete has spent enough time on general conditioning and maximizing his ability to exercise aerobically that he or she can continue racing at a high level for some time with a schedule like this. As you can see, the only real speedwork during the week comes from the races themselves. The sprint workout is short enough at 1.25 miles, and the time trial is more of an "evaluation trial", much like the 2-3 mile trials I was doing during my conditioning. Again, 3000 meters is short enough to recover from quickly, and by doing this effort continuously rather than breaking it up into intervals it gives the athlete an idea of whether he needs to focus more on maintaining endurance (if the recovery afterwards is slow to come) or continue focusing on sharpening (if the lungs feel fine and recovery is quick but the leg turnover during the effort seems sluggish or rough instead of light and smooth). While I'm sure my schedule won't look exactly like this, I think it's a good combination of different paces and distances. Personally, I'd like a longer run on Sundays, but I'm just nuts that way.

I'm possibly going to try and find a few more races during the winter to make maintaining my form and motivation easier. There is a 5K up in Phoenix the 9th of January that sounds interesting, though sometimes the drive (2 hours) isn't worth the trouble.

Training: 7 miles, 48:39, 6:57 pace. Calf tightness/soreness almost gone, piriformis still a little tight before and after run but fine during


Andrew said...

Yes, but do you get faster or is this about squeezing out all the good from the peak before the slide?

Mike said...

I guess it depends on when the peak started, which is probably the subject of some debate. Conventional wisdom suggests a peak can last from 4-8 weeks, but I think with some tweaking (more rest or falling back to more endurance training) it can be possible to string it out longer. Just think about those cross country guys racing almost every week for months.

I don't believe I actually maximized my anaerobic capacity for this cycle during my build up, but I think I did about as much as I could without risking compromising my aerobic development. It will be interesting to see what the coach has to say about all this.

evan said...

Sorry to hear your piriformis is acting up, I struggled with that for a while, but it's no longer a problem. If you can see a chiropractor or massage person for active release therapy pretty cheaply that can work wonders quickly.

Otherwise these piriformis stretches are good. Children and cats are amused easily by the one where you lie on your back to stretch. My chiro told me that you should try to cross your affected leg over the non-affected leg as much as possible (in meetings, watching tv etc ...) as then you're stretching it gently for a while.

Sitting on a tennis ball (looks funny to your co-workers) but really does a good job of loosening up the muscle.

Phil said...

5 Hours of running ... at one time? At your easy pace, you'd cover 42 miles ... now that's a long run.

Hope your piriformis is feeling better soon.